Tuesday, May 31, 2016

adventure complete

Add up a new camping place, new trails, and new riding buddy to equal a fun weekend! I haven't been ready for an endurance ride this year, not feeling like I have enough training on Major, especially with some of our snail's pace conditioning rides. But when I saw a post about a fun ride on fairly local trails, I thought it was a perfect opportunity: not competitive but marked trails, other horses, camping, food.

red and green make 20 miles

So we headed up to Dru Barner campground for the Fun(d) ride, a fundraiser for the Georgetown Divide Equestrian Trails Foundation. We found a nice campsite in the slightly disheveled camp: the forest service had come a few weeks before and cut down all the bark-beetle infested trees, leaving a big mess! Luckily the volunteers did a great job cleaning up camp, as they did the whole weekend.

Major settled in with water and hay bag, I got the trail map, and that was it. So simple with no vetting, no ride meeting. I set up the horse, and the SO sets up everything else. I'm very lucky and spoiled. After relaxing a bit I took a practice ride on the five mile yellow loop. Completely lovely trails, Major was on fire, loving the new scenery. I was able to take a few trail pictures, far more than the next day!

yellow ribbon

huge fields of mountain misery smelled so delicious

knee-knocker trees

lovely views

The plan for Sunday was the 20 mile trail: 12 mile loop and add on the 8 mile loop. And with new riding buddy L (blogging at Ponyhill) and her cute white Roo. How would Major rate with Roo? We would see! I was a bit of an anxious mess that evening, I guess it doesn't matter if it isn't a competition, I just worry in general, and didn't sleep well. But I did hear Major eating all night, so he was doing great!

waiting, not very patiently
discussion of expected trail behavior

almost on our way

off we go!

I met up with L and Roo, and headed out about 9am (there was no "start" time, just after 8 and before 10). The trail quickly weaved between pine and manzanita, sometimes rocky, then a muddy puddle, lovely long trotting roads, up hills, along a creek, up and down, a bridge or two, honestly, it's a bit of a blur. Major was a bit quicker than Roo, but I was able to keep him a bit slower (most times), which is great for him to do what I'd like, instead of his choice!

Major "sharing" (stealing) hay with Roo

a California Sister butterfly graces Roo's sponge

Sooner than I knew we were at the rest stop, refilling water bottles and the horses eating carrots and hay. Then off again to do the eight mile loop. Major and Roo would switch places, Roo would get brave and go in front, then tire of that, and Major would go in front, till he got too fast, then we'd switch, it seemed to work out. Though Major wasn't always happy to wait, this wasn't a competition, and he had to do my favorite thing: deal with it!

Major is not happy to wait: too bad!

here comes Roo catching up!

Back again at the rest stop we rested a bit, though it was getting a bit hot in the sun, then headed back for home camp. Major was getting a bit strong, trying to catch everyone ahead and going too fast. Putting Roo in front made everyone's life easier, and we found the final trough where the horses drank well, and crossed the busy, slick road (with excellent crossing guards!) and made it home!

Major was upset to see his new best friend leave, and tried to dance around, but was unsaddled and sponged off without too much fuss. Then he forget his new buddy in favor of mash and alfalfa (sorry Roo)! SO walked Major around camp a bit, snatching some grass and leftover hay bits, Then Major rested at the trailer while we got a delicious dinner, tri-tip for most, but veggie burgers and even veggie beans available, yeah!

gee, have enough hay back there?

The drive home seemed long, but Major unloaded and dragged me back to his pasture, rolled, and then asked for mash. He seemed pretty happy. Me too! But I know the importance of rest periods, and I applied that knowledge diligently the next day: from the couch, and lounge chair and pool.

Jack the cat helping me read
After a day of relaxing I went to check on Major, who looked great, and mostly behaved for his glue-on boot removal (some stomping, the flies are terrible already!). Mostly good behavior, a fun camp and ride = an overall excellent weekend. I think this ride gave me a better grasp of his fitness. He had no problems with 20 miles and 3000+ feet elevation gain at endurance pace. So I may start looking at that endurance calendar…


  1. Lovely trails and now I understand what an adventurous weekend means! What you are doing with the orange is just great! Customizing by staying with one color, I like the idea.

  2. How fun. I've been wanting to get to this Horse Camp for a ride at some point.